Author(s): Windhofer F, Wu W, Iliakis G
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Abstract Cells of higher eukaryotes rejoin double strand breaks (DSBs) in their DNA predominantly by a non-homologous DNA end joining (NHEJ) pathway that utilizes the products of DNA-PKcs, Ku, LIG4, XRCC4, XLF/Cernunnos, Artemis as well as DNA polymerase lambda (termed D-NHEJ). Mutants with defects in these proteins remove a large proportion of DSBs from their genome utilizing an alternative pathway of NHEJ that operates as a backup (B-NHEJ). While D-NHEJ relies exclusively on DNA ligase IV, recent work points to DNA ligase III as a component of B-NHEJ. Here, we use RNA interference (RNAi) to further investigate the activity requirements for DNA ligase III and IV in the pathways of NHEJ. We report that 70-80\% knock down of LIG3 expression has no detectable effect on DSB rejoining, either in D-NHEJ proficient cells, or in cells where D-NHEJ has been chemically or genetically compromised. Surprisingly, also LIG4 knock down has no effect on repair proficient cells, but inhibits DSB rejoining in a radiosensitive cell line with a hypomorphic LIG4 mutation that severely compromises its activity. The results suggest that complete coverage for D-NHEJ or B-NHEJ is afforded by very low ligase levels and demonstrate residual end joining by DNA ligase IV in cells of patients with mutations in LIG4.
This article was published in J Cell Physiol
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy